It is a very ballsy time of year. In so many ways. It takes balls to do Christmas (family politics, pre-Christmas traffic, shopping centres – yikes!), we hang balls on trees, hold balls, play with balls, and make balls.
For 24 weeks of the year baking urges result in cakes, biscuits, slices. But then 2 weeks before Christmas all we can think about is balls. Rum balls I am referring to but if your mind went elsewhere… as you were.
Interestingly, a conversation last week revealed that many people don’t actually put rum in their rum balls. Surely then they are just chocolate balls? I’m from Queensland, where a rum ball unspiked with one of our national treasures, Bundaberg Rum, could well get you kicked out of the state. But here’s the thing… I like rum, but I love whisky.
I have been branching out from just being a #winegeek in the last year to exploring drinks in general. It has meant I have delved into the rabbit hole of the enormous Australia gin scene, booked a holiday to Japan to wrap my head around sake and fallen in love with whisky – my Scottish ancestors must be proud.
I make balls every year. Because balls are an important part of Christmas. I use whatever is on hand. Last year it was Pedro Ximenez sherry. This year it had to be whisky. Rather than just lace the basic recipe with a different spirit I wanted to incorporate more of the caramel and toast aspects I love about whisky. These are a little more work than your standard 4 ingredient chocolate balls but they’re worth it. With a whisper of caramel from the dates, toastiness from the coconut and a tiny hint of coffee to balance the sweetness.
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
- 2 cups desiccated coconut
- 1 packet of Milk Arrowroot biscuits, crushed (or other plain biscuits) (250g or 8oz)
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa
- 1 tsp instant coffee powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 can condensed milk (400g or 13 oz)
- 3 tablespoons Whisky
- 2 Medjool dates finely chopped
- Place chopped dates and whisky in a small bowl and allow to soak
- Place coconut in a large frypan over low heat. Stir constantly until the coconut begins to colour. Remove from heat and continue to stir until a consistent golden colour
- Remove from frypan and allow to cool.
- Place crushed biscuits, 1 cup toasted coconut, cocoa, coffee in a large bowl and mix until combined.
- Add condensed milk and whisky/date mixture and mix well.
- If you have time, allow mixture to chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Roll into balls. I use a teaspoon measure for consistency.
- Coat balls well in toasted coconut.
- Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to meld
- If possible, it is best to soak the dates overnight.
- Hot tip for reduced-mess rolling is to keep an ice pack next to you and chill the palms of your hands after every couple of balls